All’s well that end’s well? CORC and the Anna Freud Learning Network call for honest dialogue on ending treatment in challenging circumstances

CORC’s Kate Dalzell invites colleagues to join one of our upcoming roundtables.

Earlier this year, CORC held seminars across the country to discuss the most recent findings from routinely collected outcome data. These data, in common with findings from other research, highlight that not everyone improves or is better at the end of treatment.

The seminars opened up debate between practitioners, commissioners and young people about realistic expectations - how we are communicating about the limitations of treatment, and how we are engaging with the challenges of ending treatment where symptoms persist or where a ‘cure’ is unlikely.

Child and youth mental health services are currently responding to high levels of need with finite resources.  For many, the belief that everyone can potentially be helped is an attractive one – a position of compassion and hope.  At the same time, many therapists feel they don’t have a language to talk openly about the limits of help, with a risk that young people may blame themselves if they don’t get “better”.

CORC and the Anna Freud Learning Network believe a collaborative dialogue is needed to confront these issues.  Over the autumn we are hosting a series of roundtable discussions with young people and practitioners across the country, to understand more about factors that make ending treatment challenging, approaches that help, and ways we can improve things.

I hope colleagues will be interested in engaging with this debate.  There are some difficult and little discussed issues here and we look forward to sharing what we hear, and highlighting some potential ways forward.